Monday, January 13, 2014

Vintage Patterns from Tanglewood: The 1930s Briony Blouse

Hello folks! Emily, here.

Slowly but surely, over the past couple of years, I have been working on developing a small vintage pattern line. I think I might just be ready to release my first set this spring (fingers crossed!) so stay tuned!

I've been self drafting patterns in one way or another since I learned to sew. In middle school and much of high school I drafted costumes for the local renaissance festival and made several outfits for myself and for friends. I'll never live down the time I left a dress pin in the hem of a skirt I made for my friend, Amy... I'm pretty sure she sat on it in the middle of class. Hahaha.
When I got to college I thought I was going to get a degree in Art Ed with my focus at the time being photography, but all it took was a single accidental wander past the textile design studio and I knew where I belonged. Experimenting in that studio (and having bought bolts upon bolts of plain cotton muslin to fiddle about with) allowed me to learn all sorts of things about fitting and drafting clothing. I never got as much into couture design as I would have liked, but it was the community of knowledgable people in that department that really got me hooked on fiber and sewing.

I have three blouses and a dress mocked up and finished, with very satisfactory results. I'm still working on two other dresses and a skirt, but they're the kind of unfinished project that I pick away at over months so who knows when they'll be finished. This has been an interesting learning experience for me thus far because I am a fairly busty lady and I am aiming to find and draft patterns that work for both busty and not-so-busty ladies.

I thought today I'd like to give you all a sneak-preview of what I got accomplished this weekend. This is the third self-drafted pattern that I have then digitized. It is based originally on an early 1930s top I found at a flea market last year but with some slight changes to cut and fit to accommodate fabrics other than the gorgeous silk crepe de chine ($$$) that it was originally made in.
This is by far my most complicated pattern and I am looking for 1-2 more pattern testers, sizes 2-10, to try it out. If you're interested, please comment below! If I get enough interest, I'll probably be willing to expand my pattern trials a little so let me know!

This dainty blouse is airy and light, with a slight hint at late 20s androgyny and a sharp nautical-styled collar that plunges deep while remaining close to the skin so it is almost to the point of showing off a bit of vintage cleavage but remains period and simply alludes to its presence rather than showing it off. ;)

I'd really like to take a moment here to apologize for the terrible instagram photos I have posted of this blouse. The weather here in Michigan has been fairly atrocious, and there is nothing but poor lighting this time of year (both inside and out) so, until we get some seriously gorgeous weather you'll all just have to accept these silly, cliche selfies as examples of the Briony blouse.

The blouse that I am wearing in the photos is a size six, but the next one that I construct for myself will likely be a size eight to fit me a little more historically correctly. The sleeves are cuffed dolman, and the front inset is self-lined. It's made here in a lightweight cotton chambray, and I trimmed it with some black antique cotton lace that I had in my stash from the 1910s (I am a serious sucker for vintage notions!) This shirt works great untucked so you can see the trimmed bottom cuff for a relaxed 1930s look, or you can tuck it into your high-waisted slacks or skirt for a more formal appearance. It's a very versatile top!

...Gosh I'm really hating these photos, now. I can't wait until we get a chance to do some actual photos for this!